Council members also discussed:
- An offer from the Hall County government asking the city to manage billing for county sewer customers. City staff members are still soliciting details of the offer from the county.
- Establishing an advisory board for the new, city-operated Main Street Gainesville. The board would consist of seven members and would work with the Main Street manager, currently an open position for which the city is hiring.
- A grant offered through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that would provide the Gainesville Police Department with $40,000 to purchase equipment to download videos from cameras inside police cars. The department has been awarded the grant, which has no required match in funds from the city, but the City Council must approve it.
- A resolution that would authorize the city’s Community Development department to apply for a historic preservation fund grant that would allow the department to complete its communitywide historic resources survey.
- Allowing the Gainesville Public Utilities Department to issue a contract to allow Strickland and Sons Pipeline Inc. to extend water service to the residents of Mountain View Lake Estates. The total cost of the project is $825,341.88 and would be paid for with funds from the department’s capital projects fund.
- Replacing a piece of equipment in the Riverside Water Treatment Plant that removes water from sludge. The equipment costs $176,959.91, and would be paid for with funds from the department’s capital projects fund.
Gainesville officials are on the verge of signing a 10-year agreement that guarantees at least $300,000 of revenue to the Chattahoochee Golf Course annually.
Rodger Hogan, head golf professional at Chattahoochee Golf Course, presented the agreement between the golf course and the Chattahoochee Country Club to council members at their work session Thursday. The city usually renews its corporate agreements with the country club annually.
A memo from Hogan attached to the agreement notes the longer term provides a guaranteed cash flow to the golf course, which has, for years, struggled to meet revenue projections.
But one Gainesville City Council member isn’t ready for that commitment.
Councilman Bob Hamrick, who also voted against the city’s 2009 agreement with the Chattahoochee Country Club, objected to the term of the contract.
While he said he appreciated the relationship the city has had with the club over the years, Hamrick said there was a community perception that the Chattahoochee Golf Course was only a country club course, and said the city needs to focus on bringing in those who aren’t country club members.
Hamrick noted city officials have had to transfer money from the city’s general fund, which is mainly supported with property and sales taxes, to prop up the lagging golf course fund.
Gainesville City Manager Kip Padgett said the new agreement will bring in more revenue to the city than in years past.
In the first two years, the country club would pay $300,000 so members and their families can play unlimited rounds of golf, except during charity benefits and other events not sponsored by the country club. The fee increases to $315,000 in the third year. Last year’s agreement required the country club to pay $285,000 to allow members to play 9,500 rounds of golf at the city-owned course.
The new agreement limits increases in greens fees, or fees to play, for country club members to no more than 3 percent annually, and gives the country club the ability to nominate 50 percent of the members of the Golf Course Advisory Committee.
Under the proposed agreement, the Chattahoochee Country Club would continue managing the Golf Grille, but would pay a monthly rental fee of $500 to operate it and would absolve the city of any debt leftover from previous renovations in the restaurant.
On Thursday, most council members seemed amenable to the proposal.
“It sounds like what we have is a win-win situation here,” Councilman George Wangemann said.
Mayor Ruth Bruner said a shorter term on the agreement between the two entities won’t help city revenues. Wangemann said that weather and the economy hurt the number of non-country club players at the golf course in 2008 and 2009. Mayor Pro Tem Danny Dunagan agreed, and asked that the agreement be voted on at the City Council’s meeting on Tuesday.